Onondaga County lawmakers approved Oncenter bailout

The Onondaga County Legislature has approved a bailout for the Oncenter. However , it comes with a catch.

Legislators are giving the Oncenter the full $1.8 million it asked for, but half of the money will have to be paid back.

That loan totals $900,000. Another $100,000 will come from money that earmarked for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. Since that organization shut down, the money could be used for other things. Another $500,000 will come from extra sales tax revenue, and $300,000 is coming from the room occupancy tax.

Officials at the Oncenter say the bailout is more like an investment. They have said the Oncenter needs to spend money to make money by attracting events to Syracuse. For example, the U.S. Women's Bowling Conference Championships are being hosted at the Oncenter right now. The tournament is getting the Oncenter rent free, but Oncenter officials say it's worth it because the bowlers, their families, and others will generate $40 million for the Syracuse economy by staying in hotels, shopping, and dining.

Several legislators voted against the support for the Oncenter. Democrat Tom Buckel said he believed the county should look at privatizing the Oncenter instead of continuing to subsidize it.